Being able to effectively support people with disabilities who have experienced abuse requires disability organizations to demonstrate both commitment and capacity to address abuse in the community it serves. In practical terms, this means having a stated recognition of the responsibility to address abuse and creating a culture and environment that prioritizes safety and is supportive of service users who disclose abuse. It also involves developing policies and protocols that establish expectations for how your organization addresses abuse and having additional resources to help staff and volunteers provide a consistent and confidential response to survivors that promotes safety and healing. On-going professional development activities that deepen the capacity of staff and volunteers to address abuse are also critically important to providing safe and responsive services to survivors with disabilities.
Steps You Can Take in Your Organization
- Commit your organization to take a stand against abuse.
- Identify needs and plot a course for change.
- Build formal relationships with organizations in your area that address abuse.
- Involve survivors with disabilities in your work.
- Conduct a safety review of your organization.
- Adopt policies that promote confidentiality, safety, and healing.
- Offer on-going training to staff and volunteers.
- Provide staff and volunteers with written protocols, resource guides, and other tools.
- Conduct outreach.
- Track your progress.